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There are many reasons why more and more roofing contractors are choosing synthetic underlayment for their projects. One of those reasons is safety. Synthetic underlayment comes with safety features that traditional felt underlayment just can’t match. Read on to learn more about how Epilay’s synthetic underlayment can help you make sure the job gets done with fewer accidents!

First, Some Safety Statistics

Any discussion of roofing contractor safety revolves around protection against falls. And it’s no small wonder when you look at the latest statistics from the CDC. According to them, 310 construction workers die each year in falls from heights, and more than 10,350 are seriously injured in falls from heights. About 40% of these deaths occur on roofs, with the rest being falls from ladders and scaffolding.

What causes these deaths and injuries? There are a variety of factors, from a lack of training to a lack of personal fall protection. Inclement weather like wind and rain can make injuries happen, and they can also happen when workers are working alone on rooftops.

Synthetic Underlayment is Light and Easy to Handle

Since the biggest hazard for roofing jobs are the height and potential for a fall, contractors appreciate materials that help minimize this risk. Epilay’s synthetic underlayment is one way to help make the work safer.

Consider this:

  • Protectite Platinum is Epilay’s heaviest synthetic underlayment with a 17 mil thickness—but one roll still only weighs 37 pounds, which is eight times lighter than #30 felt.
  • Protectite Plasfelt is our lightest product, featuring a 6.5 mil thickness. It weighs just 21 pounds a roll, which is five times lighter than #15 felt.

Because rolls of synthetic underlayment are so much lighter than felt underlayment, synthetic is far easier to work with. Roofing jobs require many trips up and down the ladder, often carrying heavy materials, so lighter rolls of underlayment help minimize the risk to workers carrying these supplies to the rooftop. Once on top of the roof, the rolls are easier to maneuver — less hassle for workers to unroll and place the underlayment means fewer accidents and injuries.

Epilay’s GripWalk Surfacing Provides Added Security

Many roofs are pitched, some steeper than others, and traditional felt underlayment can be slippery, which has been known to result in falls. That’s another advantage of synthetic underlayment. With Epilay’s products, you’ll enjoy the benefits of the GripWalk system. This is a non-woven high-traction surface that’s easy to walk on, even on steeply sloped roofs. The surface layer is designed to perform well in all conditions, too, which means that it will provide workers with extra traction even when there is moisture or condensation on the surface of the underlayment.

That doesn’t mean you should go ahead with roofing jobs in inclement weather, of course. Stay home when it’s raining or snowing—but GripWalk will help keep you and your crew safer in the early mornings when there is dew on the underlayment, or in the moments after an unexpected afternoon rain shower.

Lighter Colors Help Prevent Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Anyone who has ever worked on a rooftop in the summer knows that roofs can get hot—especially when you’re working with black felt underlayment, which absorbs heat. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are huge threats to roofers. Not only do heat-related illnesses pose a threat in and of themselves, but they can also lead to slips and falls. As heat exhaustion sneaks up on you, it’s easy to get dizzy or lightheaded—and that’s not something you want to experience when it could mean stumbling and falling from a high elevation.

Fortunately, the slip-resistant surface isn’t the only advantage of Epilay’s GripWalk surface. GripWalk also features a cool gray color, which helps keep temperatures lower on the rooftop. It can help you reduce the risk of heat injuries, which in turn helps reduce the risk of fall injuries.

Easy Installation Leads to Fewer Accidents

It stands to reason that the less time you spend struggling with building supplies on a rooftop, the fewer chances there will be for an accident to happen—and this is another area in which synthetic underlayment shines. It’s much easier and faster to roll out synthetics whereas felt underlayment doesn’t always roll smoothly, particularly in cold weather when it becomes stiff and brittle. Synthetics also don’t leach oil in high heat, which means no toxic fumes and no melted, slippery spots.

Even the durability of synthetic underlayment is an advantage where safety is concerned. Where felt tears easily on breezy days, synthetics do not—and that means you’ll spend less time preventing and fixing tears.

If you’re interested in trying an Epilay product for your next roofing project, get in touch with us to find a distributor in your area. You can also browse our synthetic roofing products to learn more about each of our underlayment options and their advantages.